Friday, October 24, 2014

Pear-Blackberry Tart

Last Friday, I wanted to make something special for our Friday Night Dinner.  I had just gotten a bunch of pears so I did a little searching on the net.  I found this amazing-looking pear-blackberry tart.  It is not a dessert that you can just "whip up" at a moments notice, but it sure was lovely, served nicely, and was delicious!


Below are my adaptations, but the instructions are the same as Russell's at Chasing Delicious.



Pear Blackberry Tart  ~ Chasing Delicious
Sugar Crust Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup sprouted soft flour
  • 5 T turbinado or sucanat
  • 1/8 t baking soda
  • 5 T chilled butter
  • 2 T palm shortening
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 t water
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • Special Equipment:  Tart pan with a removable bottom
 Crust Instructions

  1. Using a food processor blend the flour, sugar, butter, vegetable shortening, and mixing powder until the fat(butter and shortening) create pea sized chunks.
  2. Blend in the egg mixture and vanilla. Pulse the food processor until a dough ball forms (there will still be some stragglers).
  3. Form the dough with all the straggling bits into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to several hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F. Once it is chilled, press the dough evenly into the tart pan. You want an even layer along the bottom and up the sides.  Roll a rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to get a nice clean edge on the top of your crust.
  5. You will need to make sure the pastry does not fluff up or collapse in baking so line the dough with foil. Then place dried beans, pastry weights, marbles, stones, or rice on the foil.
  6. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, or until the dough is set. Remove the foil lining and rice (careful not to get any rice on the dough) and bake for another 10-12 minutes until it is golden. When it is done you will also notice the shell has shrunken slightly and pulled away from the tart pan.  (I used a 10" tart pan.  If using a larger size, you will want to decrease your baking time by about 2-4 minutes total.)
  7. Allow crust to cool for 2 minutes.  Remove crust from the pan by placing the bottom on a large jar or something tall with a flat surface–this will allow the side of the pan to fall down. Carefully slide the tart onto a cooling rack.

Now you get to start making the custard!

Custard Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 C sucanat
  • 1/3 C sprouted soft flour
  • 1 C boiling milk
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract

Custard Instructions
  1. If you have a stand mixer I suggest using it, otherwise prepare to do loads of mixing: Beat the egg and egg yolk slowly adding the sucanat until it is pale yellow. Beat in the flour.
  2. While you are mixing the egg, sugar and flour you should bring your milk to a boil. Very slowly, with a few large drops at a time, or a very thin stream add the boiling milk to the mixer. You must do it slowly or you will risk scrambling the eggs.
  3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium. Stir slowly with a whisk until the mixture begins to come together. Now whisk like you’ve never whisked before until the mixture is thick like a paste.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low and beat with a silicone or wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes (this cooks the flour).  Make sure the custard does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients (butter, vanilla extract & almond extract).
  6. Lay plastic wrap directly on top of the custard so that no "skin" forms on top.  Refrigerate.
 Tart Ingredients
  • 5 or 6 ripe, firm pears
  • 1/4 C amaretto or brandy (add ¼ t almond extract if using brandy)
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ C sucanat
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 C blackberry jam
  • 6 oz blackberries
Tart Instructions
  1. Peel, core, and halve the pears. Place them in a bowl with water and a little lemon juice to stop them from browning.
  2. Bring the amaretto (or brandy), water, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon to a boil. 
  3. Drain the pears.  If using almond extract, add that now.  Add the pears to the boiling syrup. Lower the temperature to low (to have the pears just below a simmer) for 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the pears as they need to retain their shape for the tart.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pears cool in the syrup for 20 minutes. Drain the pears on a rack.
  5. Rapidly boil down the syrup until it is very thick.
  6. In another sauce pan add the blackberry jam and 1/4 cup the reduced amaretto syrup. Bring to a boil then simmer for a couple minutes until it is all well mixed.
  7. Paint the inside of the sugar crust with the jam and syrup mix/glaze.
  8. Spread the custard over the glaze.
  9. Cut the pears crosswise. Keep the cut pear together and lay on the custard fanning it out once you have it in the tart. Use my picture as a guide. Save one of the pears for the center (cut it so it forms half a sphere). Add the blackberries in the bare spots and around the center pear.
  10. Spoon the amaretto syrup/glaze over the top of the tart covering all the fruit.
  11. Serve as soon as possible to avoid crust getting soggy.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Menu Monday, October 20

Have a wonderful week! 
Dinner:   
Monday
Ham & cheddar omelets; fried potatoes; green salad
Tuesday
Cider-glazed pork chops; acorn squash; brown rice; sautéed green beans w/ toasted almonds
Wednesday
Salisbury steak; red potatoes; sautéed vegetables
Thursday
No-Noodle Sausage & Sour Cream Bake; sautéed carrot/kale/mushroom medley; fresh bread*
Friday
Fish & chips; coleslaw; blueberry sorbet* w/ vanilla wafers*
Saturday
Clam chowder; fresh bread*; green salad
Sunday
*Recipe coming

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Free Shipping this Weekend at Tropical Traditions

http://tinyurl.com/6p63b2nThis weekend, you can receive FREE SHIPPING from Tropical Traditions on any size order of $15 or more.  That's a great deal when purchasing heavy items like coconut oil or the palm shortening I love for pie crust or any other time I'd use shortening.

Speaking of palm shortening, it's on sale now, too!  A whopping 40% off on a gallon through Sunday. 

So if you need anything from the nice folks at Tropical Traditions, be sure to take advantage of the free shipping!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin-Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

This morning, my amazing daughter made these fabulous muffins.  You just have to try them!

For the recipe, just head on over to Dolly's Pix.  Enjoy!


Monday, August 11, 2014

3-2-1 Pie Crust Recipe + Tips to Make a Perfect Pie Crust

Hi.  My name is Lynette and I used to be afraid to make pie crust.  Until now.  

I'm sharing my story that, maybe if you, too, live in fear of producing a flaky, buttery crust and end up covertly grabbing a store-bought one instead, that you know there is hope.

In my search for the best pie crust recipe and tricks to make it turn out flawlessly, I ran across this vid.  I learned a lot from Chef Cristina and have made several pies since getting this recipe.  I'm not kidding... several pies.  Each have turned out so well that I am convinced that it is good enough to share with you, my friend!

You see, it isn't just the recipe that makes a great crust.  It's technique, technique, technique!  Yes, it may require just a little extra time, but it does make all the difference in the world.

Now something of note is that a pie crust and a pâte brisée are not the same thing.  A pie crust is to be light and flaky; merely a way to present the glorious filling in a somewhat orderly fashion.  A pâte brisée, on the other hand, is truly a member of the party.  It is more substantial with a sugar cookie-like texture and is better suited for tarts.  

So... today, my young padawan, I will share with you the skill to make your own flaky pie crust so you do not have to turn to the Dark Side in the grocery store.

Below, I have adapted Chef Cristina's recipe a little to suit our real-food journey:


3-2-1 Pie Crust
Makes 2 crusts
  • 3 C sprouted soft whole wheat (pastry) flour
  • 2 sticks butter (or ½ C butter / ½ C palm shortening)
  • 1 C ice water (or less)
  • 1 T turbinado or sucanat
  • 1 t salt
  1. Freeze butter.  If using palm shortening, measure and freeze that, too, for about an hour or until hard.
  2. Cut frozen butter (and palm shortening) into small cubes/shards.  Do this quickly as you don't want the fats to become soft.
  3. Add all ingredients EXCEPT WATER into mixer bowl.  Using paddle attachment of your stand mixer, mix on lowest speed until crumbly.  This will take about 2 minutes.  You will still see pieces of butter and shortening in the flour.  Check dough to see if when pressed together in the hands it holds together.  Dough should be somewhat loose with bits of butter still visible. This is good!  (See video)
  4. Add about ¾ C of the water.  Mix on low just until dough starts to come together. You may need to add more water if all the flour is not incorporated in the dough.  Be careful not to mix too long as this will produce a tough crust.  This whole process takes maybe 1 minute.
  5. Turn dough out onto floured surface.  Pat out slightly.  Fold dough over on itself 3-4 times.  This will help create the flaky layers we covet so!
  6. Mound dough and cut in half, making each into a disk.  
  7. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 60 minutes or up to 2 days. (Don't be tempted to rush here... This step will allow the gluten in the flour to relax and be much easier to work with.)  
  8. When ready to bake pie, make filling first.
  9. Take pie crust out of refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before rolling out. This will allow it to soften slightly, make rolling easier and prevent cracking.  
  10. Unwrap dough and place on a floured surface.  Roll out, turning dough a quarter turn after each pass.  Add a small amount of flour under dough if it begins to stick.  If crust cracks around the edges while rolling out, lay a tea towel or plastic wrap over the top for just a minute or two, allowing it to soften a little bit more.  Continue rolling until dough is about 1" larger than pie plate.
  11. Gently press crust into bottom, corners, and sides of pan.  Do not stretch dough.
  12. Prior to filling, brush beaten egg on bottom and sides of crust to prevent sogginess.  Brushing top crust with beaten egg gives the crust a beautiful golden, glossy finish.
  13. Freeze completed pie for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.
 My favorite do ahead tip:  Place the wrapped pie crust disk in a freezer bag; label.  Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight.  This works fabulously and doesn't take much time at all. Then when you want to make a pie, half the work is already done!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Menu Monday, August 11

We have just two weeks before we start school and I have a list of things to do a mile long. 

This week, one of my goals to to preserve more of our kale crop which has been especially good this year.  I have been dehydrating and making kale powder (dried and then powdered in my food processor) to sprinkle in eggs, soups, sauces, etc., and plan to do a little more.  I'm also going to freeze some for vegetable and bean soups that we love so much during the fall and winter.  Just blanch washed leaves for about 2 minutes, remove and place leaves in cold water, drain well, chop, and place in marked freezer containers. 

Dinner:   

Monday
Tuesday
Simple summer succotash; salad with basil-dijon vinaigrette
Wednesday
Bacon, kale, & zucchini omelets; blueberry muffins
Thursday
No-Noodle Sausage & Sour Cream Bake; sautéed carrot/kale/zucchini medley; salad
Friday
Saturday
Chicken Parmesan* with pasta; Caesar salad
Sunday
Family potluck (bringing pasta salad*)
*Recipe coming

Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Monday, July 21

This past week, we picked blueberries and blackberries.  We have the blueberries in the freezer and some in the dehydrator.  As for the blackberries, I did freeze some whole to use for tarts and desert garnishes through the year, but most of them will end up as jam...today.  I wasn't able to get to them as quickly as I wanted because my wonderful hubby and I painted the showroom for our new shop location.  I was so thankful that the weather was cooler because the room has 16 foot ceilings.  Sooooo glad that's done!

With some of the blueberries, I made a pie that turned out fabulously.  Don't worry, I share that this week just in case you, too, like blueberry pie!

You are going to see some repeats from last week on this week's menu.  Sorry about that.  My hubby was out of town for work for a few days...

Dinner:   

Monday
Taco bar
Tuesday
Mac & cheese with kielbasa; salad with vinaigrette
Wednesday
Marinated BBQ chicken kabobs*; pineapple chunks; coleslaw
Thursday
Dinner out
Friday
Beef Souvlaki with tzatziki*; cucumber salad; Greek potatoes; broccoli; Greek butter cookies*
Saturday
Pork spare ribs*; pasta salad*; fruit salad
Sunday
Chicken wings*; mushroom risotto; sautéed carrot/kale/zucchini medley
  *Lots of recipes coming!